At Meadow Green Primary School, the Arts play a fundamental role in the education of the ‘whole child’. Children engage in musical activities which involve creating, rehearsing, performing and responding – and have fun too!
The school offers a wide variety of musical experiences, both within curriculum time and through extra-curricular clubs and performances. The aim is to be as inclusive as possible and to impact on children’s well-being and academic progress through learning to perform in groups, as a soloist and as a confident individual. Collective acts of music-making result in a strong sense of belonging and self-worth, and the skills involved in performing music enhance the ability to perform well across all other areas of learning.
Every class has one lesson of curriculum music per week. The programme of study includes the opportunity to perform using a wide range of tuned and untuned instruments, including xylophones, chime bars, boomwhackers, and a large range of unpitched percussion. Activities involving listening and appraising skills are carefully planned to expose children to a wide variety of musical genres and styles including world music, classical music and popular music. Children are encouraged to compose, improvise and perform with some use of graphic and standard notation. Singing together is a key part of curriculum music at Meadow Green. More recently music teaching includes the use of resources from the ‘Charanga Music School’ scheme, incorporating the Model Music Curriculum guidance.
Instrumental teachers, including those from Severn Arts, provide weekly lessons for small groups and individuals in both keyboard and brass instruments. Weekly lessons also prepare the children for performances and concerts for their peers, and an end of year performance in the Summer Music Concert – individually, and as part of a duet or small ensemble. Children who have previously learnt an instrument at Meadow Green and progressed to secondary school have been invited back to perform to the current children, and to talk about learning their instrument.
The KS2 Choir meets on a weekly basis and is open to all KS2 children. The Choir perform at school concerts and events, including Christmas Carols organised by a local church group, and the Summer Music Concert. Each year the children enjoy rehearsing for and performing at ‘Young Voices’ at the Birmingham Arena – the largest children’s choir in the world! The children experience performing alongside up to 8,000 other children as a single choir to capacity audiences for family and friends.
KS1 Singing Club
Likewise, the KS1 Singing Club meets on a weekly basis and is open to all KS1 children. The children practise the basics of singing as an ensemble, with music ranging from traditional to pop and rock songs, as well as seasonal and festive songs. Weekly rehearsals prepare the children for informal performances and concerts for their peers, as well as Christmas Carols and an end of year performance in the Summer Music Concert.
Extra-curricular clubs, including recorders and ukuleles, draw on work done during curriculum lessons to offer all children in KS2 the opportunity to perform together, and at different events. It is traditional for them to make an annual appearance at the Summer Music Concert.
All children in KS1 and KS2 participate in a fortnightly Singing Assembly. The children learn how to warm-up their voices, and practise different songs together to either a piano accompaniment or a backing track. The songs reflect the school’s core values, and include action songs, traditional songs and popular songs, as well as seasonal songs for different events within the school calendar. At each Singing Assembly, a new ‘artist or composer of the fortnight’ is introduced. Children learn about the history of the composer/ artist, and their music is played at different assemblies across the school week.
Children from EYFS to KS2 enjoy performing to each other at a whole school Singing Morning, which is often themed. Children will choose a song collectively to rehearse and perform as a class with their Class Teacher. Themes for recent Singing Mornings have included ‘Through the Decades’ and ‘Friendship’. KS2 Christmas Carol Concert: Similarly, each class in KS2 will rehearse a carol to perform to their families at the annual KS2 Carol Concert. The rest of the school enjoy listening at the dress rehearsal.
Key Stage Performances
Along their learning journey at Meadow Green, all children take part in different musical-based plays: KS1 Christmas Nativity, LKS2 Spring term musical, and an UKS2 leaver’s play at the end of the Summer term. Children in Years 1, 3 and 5 form a Choir for their respective play, moving to a singing and speaking role the following year, often with solo singing and dance involved. These wonderful opportunities allow children to experience all aspects of rehearsing for and presenting a musical production: singing, acting and speaking, dancing, direction, costumes, and lighting. The different plays are performed to the rest of the school, and to families.
Children enjoy annual performances from visiting musicians in collaboration with Rocksteady Music School, Severn Arts, Samba Drumming Workshops, as well as personal contacts. A wide variety of musical ensembles engage the children with lively presentations, skilled performances and informative interactions. Teaching staff at Meadow Green enjoy these informal concerts as much as the children!
Across the Curriculum
Children also experience music across the curriculum in different lessons, including Topic, Art and Dance. In PE, they have opportunities to respond to music and create their own dance, or use dance as a way to extend topic ideas that are being covered in the classroom. Children are also able to learn some dances to traditional music. A rich and varied musical education is provided for children of all needs and abilities at Meadow Green Primary School.
As Music is a practical subject, assessment may be done by focussing on a small group at a time on certain tasks or skills, observing the children, discussing their work or self/ peer/ Teacher evaluation against criteria from the National Curriculum, and end of year expectations. The ‘Subject Overview’ ensures children are accessing work at age related expectations, with regular opportunities to be challenged through higher-level objectives. Children are assessed according to age related expectations in line with curriculum requirements. This is done in line with the school assessment calendar.
Past pupils returning to Meadow Green